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Open sesame…

August 3, 2010

The Penan are so profoundly different…

They have no writing,

so their total vocabulary at any one time is the knowledge of the best storyteller…

There is one word for ‘he’,


and ‘it’,

but six for ‘we’…

There are at least eight words for sago,

because it is the plant that allows them to survive…

Sharing is an obligation,

so there is no word for ‘thank-you’…

They can name hundreds of trees but there is no word for ‘forest’…

Their universe is divided between tana’ lihep —

‘land of the shade’,

tana’ lalun —

‘land of abundance’,

and tana’ tasa’—

‘land that has been destroyed’…

— in Light at the Edge of the World by Wade Davis…

After a house day,

I went twilight riding,

around Stanley Park’s sea wall…

Navigating the circumference,

with unending gratitude for this city,

where I live…

And the sweat off the backs,

of the people who built it,

and those who made their home here,

for the centuries before…

Herons stood still,


in waves,

as the big red fire stoked sun,


behind island mountains…

Bats flipped,

and flew,

in the thick,

of no-see-ums…

Skunk and I,

crossed paths,

on English Bay…

A giant screen,

standing in a field,

told a story,

in word,


A version,

in straight line history,


of constructed,

image packages…

The grass I lay on,

was wet,

with tears…

The air heavy,

with ghosts,

who have no name,

for us now…

Heavy with time,

when my people,

met underground,

in groups,

larger than four…


and punished,

for speaking,

your language…

Coming back,

to be here again…

How would you,


to show up,

for another round???

Would you say,

with hidden eyes,

YOU want to know,

what I think,

then find,

a way,

for your white washed,


to talk,

on the same page,

with the picture feelings,

of horse…


I daydreamed on the bank again...

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